I am Tidewater born, raised, educated and, according to my DAR mother, the descendant of a Confederate soldier who died at the Battle of Seven Pines. Affixed to a wall in our house in the 1960s was a framed picture of an angry armed Confederate looming above a caption that read something like “Forget? Hell, no!”
Even after I came to realize that the Civil War was fought not to protect some idealized notion of the southern way of life but for the purpose of preserving slavery and the economy based on it, I still cleaved to the notion that there must have been something noble, albeit misguided, motivating the leaders of the South.
But that was a long time ago, and as I grew up I began to understand not just the immorality at the heart of the Confederate cause, but how its perpetuation, especially by officially honoring southern leaders, continues to drive between Americans the very same wedge that separated North and South in 1861.
In Mathews County,...
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